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Muriel sank to a chair overcome.
She felt like screaming. In a-flash she
Comprehended that her cherished se
cret might become public property.
Faint and distressed, she summoned
aH her power of control.
"Come with me," she said promptly
to the two boys. "Now then, Willie,
and you, Paul, go instantly pver the
route you took, and get "back those
The lads loved-her, and saw that in
some way they were causing her
trouble. They hurried -with her from
the house. It was a .singular ex-,
perience. There were twelve of the
letters, Muriel knew only too well.
At the end of three blocks,ten were
back in her possession. No one seem
ed to have noticed them on. the vari
our porches where they ha'd been de-5
"There are two more," said the
anxious Muriel. , i
"Yes, ma'am," replied Willfe.-'T
handed one to a man."
"Oh dear dear," cried Muriel,'
wringing her hands in distress.
"And I left one on theporch of, th
big house yonder," indicated. Paul,
and they hastened ' to the place in;
question. It was a vacant housebutf
a trampish-looking fellow was camp
ed on its steps.
"Lost something?" he inquired, in
part overhearing the conversation of
the trio. ' " . 1
"I am looking for a letter, ah. bid.
letter one of these boys left, here,"'
"Ah, indeed," muttered the tramp.
"Valuable, ma'am?" r
"I will pay for its return."
"Mfibbe I'll find it," said the man,
and Muriel left the place hoping the
wind had blown it away among the
rubbish at tne rear of the lot.
"Oh, Aunt Muriel," said Willie; as
they reached home, "I just remem
bered! The man I gave the letter to
looked -a good deal like that photo
graph I noticed in your desk."
Muriel flashed, with a new, pang at
her heart at the allusion. She- tried
to hopeithat one letter wa6 lost and
that the other .-would be tossed aside
unread. She sac onthe porch "that"
evening, trying to forget the distress
ing incident and JRariald Dyer, when
someone came up the stairs. It was
the tramp she had. meet that day.
"About that letter now," he began
with a leer. "What will you give for
"Have you found it?" inquired Mu
riel eagerly. "I will gladly pay you
"Wh'y; ma'am," derided the tramp,
"in these days of sensations any
newspaper would give one hundred
dollars, just to show its readers how
a real genuine love letter reads, don't
The cpvert insinuation appalled
Muriel. Not that the letters contained
anything but Jhe most respectf ul ami
commonplace' sentiments of love.She
jihrarik'from the thoughts of others
perusing these treasured epistles, sa
cred to her a.s the heart breathings of
a man she had -loved devotedly.
"It'sa hundred or nothings" added
"Not a cent,"' interrupted a. ringing
voice'that thrilled Muriel through and
And then..lhe tramp rwas seized by
the collar by a vigorous hand, was
pulled" oyer the porch railing, arrest
threatened, the letter demanded and N
produced, and the blackmailer sent
headlong into the road.
His ready captor returned to the
petrified -Muriel. He lifted his hat
courteously, but very gravely.
"There is the letter that man. had',
here is the one a little boy handed'me
today, -'passing out letters' he called
"Ranald Ranald Dyer;" murmur-'
ed Muriel' weakly.
"Yes, it is 'I," replied her- lover "of
the past. "I came to visit the old
town after my long absence. You
seem to have thought enough of
those old letters of mine to preserve?
them." - -